Ozette Loop, Washington Coast, June 20- 21, 2014

Written on December 20, 2014

My final backpacking trip in Washington before I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico was one of my favorites. A nine mile trek, the Ozette Loop trail took us from Lake Ozette through a coastal forest and thickets to some of the wildest coastline in Washington. This hike had it all– sea stacks, bald eagles, whales, seals, and the only petroglyphs found on the Washington coast, the mysterious Wedding Rocks. I hiked with friends Katie and Aaron, two of my fabulous studio assistants. We were so lucky to have beautiful, clear weather; it had rained the previous three days. The popular camping sites – Cape Alava and Sand Point were crowded, but the three mile stretch of beach in between them was desolate and beautiful– my favorite areas of the wild Washington coast.

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After three miles hiking to the coast, we finally see a glimpse of Ozette Island, the westernmost point of land in the lower 48 states, located just off Cape Alava, the end of the Pacific Northwest Coastal Trail. It’s part of the Ozette Reservation, and an important ceremonial site for the Makah people. It is also a National Wildlife Refuge.

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At the cape, surrounded by stacks.

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Above the cape, on the bluff, sits a small wooded hut, a memorial erected by the Makah to the original inhabitants of the cape, the original Osett people. The memorial is filled with bones– whale and other sea creatures– left by tribal members visiting this place. The official placard reads:

Osett Memorial

From Osett endings have become beginnings
At Osett comes new understandings
Generation to generation
Our people have shared the wealth
From the land and sea
From this site we have gained
Appreciation of the wisdom of our forefathers
From this we have gained new strength

In their honor we dedicate this memorial
This rich culture – our proud heritage
THE MAKAH INDIAN NATION
The five original villages
Osett – Dia’th – Wa’atch – Tsoo-Yess – Ba’adah
Treaty 1855

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South of the Cape, we were told that last year, a whale carcass had washed up onto the beach. Sure enough, we found the giant skull of a grey whale, a few ribs and even rotting bands of skin. The skull was immense and utterly beautiful.

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The skull marked the beginning of a wild swath of Washington coastline between Cape Alava and Sand Point, another popular place to camp, three miles down the beach. This area of the coast was not often travelled as the beaches were narrow and the tide could easily force hikers into the thick, trail-less coastline. However, the wedding Rocks, smack dab in between this three mile hike, was my true destination and reason for the trek.

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At an otherwise nondescript rocky outcrop along the coast, there exists a mysterious anomaly in Coastal First People history: petroglyphs. Rock drawings are not a documented piece of area first people’s history or culture. The drawings most notably depict schools of fish and orca. Who made these drawings and why?  Again, this is the only place these images are found on the coast. Truly beautiful.

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Further down the beach, we set up camp, made an incredible dinner, had a small fire, and watched a glorious sunset.

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In the morning, we had a visitor at camp.

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The tide was way out, so we explored the tidal pools before packing up camp and continuing our trek. I miss these colors.

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Fresh coyote tracks on the beach. We had heard their yipping the previous night.

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Hiking out through the forest, I came across a little alter of leaf people. These leaves littered the trail to and from the coast. I don’t know their significance, but once you knew what to look for, they were everywhere.

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Crater Lake National Park, February 2014

Written on October 10, 2014

Back in February, I went on a multi-day Oregon Adventure with awesome friends Jenna, Erin and Liliana. Our original destination was a popular hot spring but the highlight of the trip was an impromptu visit to Crater Lake. We luckily visited during a gorgeous window of clear weather; the next day, the park was inaccessible for a week due to snowy conditions. The snow was nearly 5′ deep in some areas. It was beautiful and breathtaking. Of course, I had a few Lucha Libre masks which served both as photo props and face warmers in the frigid air. I love these folks.

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Astoria and Fort Steven’s State Park

Written on October 6, 2014

Saturday, January 25th was an abnormally warm day. The sun was shining for the first time in what seemed like months, and the temperature reached 60° on the coast. Friend Sarah and I decided to drive to Astoria, Oregon for the day, visiting the Goonies house and Fort Steven’s State Park, the location of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck.

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La Push and the Hoh (part 2)

Written on September 28, 2014

The Hoh. Enough said. Greenest of the Greens.

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La Push and The Hoh (part one)

Written on September 28, 2014

At the end of Decemeber, friend Lucas and I went to the Washington Coast, past Forks to La Push. We visited First, Second and Ruby Beach. We stayed the night in Forks, and the following day we went for a hike in the Hoh Rainforest. These are quite possibly some of the most magical areas in The Olympic National Park. It was foggy, chilly and the perfect epitome of winter weather in Washington.

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The Historic Bigelow House

Written on September 23, 2014

This past December, The Bigelow House and Museum opened its doors to the public during a day long tour of historic Olympia Homes. I lived right down the block from the museum, and walked or drove past it almost every day. It was a pleasure to finally explore the interior and gain a brief glimpse into Oly’s storied history. (I had also just taken a day long digital photography workshop at The Photo Center Northwest and was refining newfound in-camera skills.) Olympia, please do check out this amazing cultural resource right in your backyard!

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Nisqually Christmas Hike, 2013

Written on September 23, 2014

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is one of my favorite places to bird watch in the South Sound area. I never tire of watching the seasons change in this beautiful wetland or awaiting seasonal migrants to appear in the seasonal grasslands and salty tidelands. Here are some of the birds I saw, minus the Northern Harriers, Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles (too fast and too far away).

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